The theme-song for the 1967 Spider-Man TV show has this part:

Is he strong?
Listen bud,
He's got radioactive blood.

I assume that "radioactive" in this case means that it is currently producing radiation.

While the spider that bit Peter Parker was certainly radioactive, did it make Peter's blood radioactive? And is it still radioactive years after the spider bite?

I'm looking for an answer that addresses the main comics universe (Earth-616) and/or the 1967 television show. Other universes are welcome as supplementary material.

  • 11
  • 4
    In Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 #10 he transfused his blood into Aunt May. In issues #31-33 she's quite poorly (as a result) but the blood ultimately heals her. – Valorum Jun 12 '18 at 22:48
  • 2
    Isn't everyone's blood radioactive? I guess your asking if Spiderman's blood is more radioactive than usual? – user14111 Jun 13 '18 at 3:04
  • @user14111 Well, it's presented as a compelling argument to explain why Spider-Man is strong. So yes, more radioactive than normal humans to explain why he is stronger than normal humans. – Thunderforge Jun 13 '18 at 3:13
  • 13
    @Thunderforge - Are you suggesting that the theme tune may be in some way innaccurate?! (Monocle drops into champage). Maybe we should also ask if he can spin a web of any size. – Valorum Jun 13 '18 at 6:24

Yes, it is. Spoilers following.

Morlun is a "recent" foe of Spider-Man, appeared for the first time in The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #30.

Long story short, he wants to feed on Spider-Man's blood and he is way stronger than Spider-Man, so our hero needs to find a way to win the fight.

With a test he discovers that Morlun is vulnerable to radiation and thus, in The Amazing Spider-Man vol. 2 #35, Spider-Man injects himself with a nice dose of radiation because even if it could kill a normal man, it will only weaken him due to the high dose of radioactivity already present normally in his own blood.

Going back in time, in Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 32 Spider-Man discovers that Aunt May is dying because of radioactive material in her blood, due to blood she received from him during a transfusion.

So yes, right now Spidey's blood is sensibly more radioactive than normal blood.

  • 1
    Some panels to confirm these facts would be appreciated. – Valorum Jun 13 '18 at 19:46
  • 3
    @Valorum: no problem, it's just 270 euro the ticket to fly to my storage to grab the comics, what is the address to send the bill to? :-D But there are some additional info in different wikis, I'll link and quote them too. – motoDrizzt Jun 13 '18 at 19:53
  • 1
    Oh I see, I forgot that you're a casual. – Valorum Jun 13 '18 at 20:18
  • 2
    The 1967 theme song is, to me, always the deciding canon on all issues of a Spidey nature – Danny Mc G Jun 14 '18 at 12:07
  • 2
    Not to mention, the radioactive sperm. – Worse_Username Sep 11 '18 at 11:40

The original Spider Man powers came from a radioactive spider bite, as seen in Amazing Fantasy 15

One evening, while attending a demonstration of radioactivity at General Techtronics Laboratories East, Parker fails to notice a spider drop through a "radioactive ray" and receive a massive dose of radiation. It bites him and dies. Light-headed, Parker leaves the demonstration, only to be nearly run over by a car. He leaps to safety but is surprised to find he has jumped much further than intended—he lands on the side of a building and clings to the bricks by his fingertips. He quickly climbs to the roof and, once there, accidentally crumples a steel pipe in his hand. He believes that he has inherited the spider's speed, strength, and climbing ability. He begins to ponder the possibilities.

Now, if he had truly "radioactive blood" he wouldn't be much of a superhero ("Hey, I saved you from that supervillan but dosed you with enough radiation to possibly give you cancer. You're welcome!") But, in one of Marvel's stranger decisions, the series Spider Man: Reign has this

It is revealed that [Mary Jane] died of cancer brought on by exposure to Peter's radioactive bodily fluids during intercourse over the years.

So no radioactive blood, but radioactive semen...

  • 1
    Which, to be fair, is set in a future timeline on a divergent Earth, so this could only show that SOME Spiders-Man have dangerously radioactive fluids. The Earth where they have May, who becomes Spider-Girl, the...exposure was far from fatal. – VBartilucci Jun 13 '18 at 14:02
  • Alpha particles can be absorbed by skin, so if he is emitting that type of radiation, not only would it be difficult for other people to be exposed, but it wouldn't be very dangerous. Alpha particles are generally dangerous only when they're being emitted from an internal source. – Acccumulation Jun 13 '18 at 15:14
  • 2
    "Is he strong? Listen stooge, He has radioactive spooge! Look out, here comes the Spider Mannnnnnn" – Irishpanda Jun 13 '18 at 18:16
  • @Irishpanda I think that might be the Spooderman theme – Machavity Jun 13 '18 at 18:21

I'd say yes because it becomes the center of the lyrics to the opening of Spider-Man: The Animated Series:

Spider-Man, Spider-Man

Radioactive Spider-Man

Spider blood, spider blood,

Radioactive spider blood


It doesn't come up very often, but a few scenes over the years have stated (or otherwise indicated) that the 616 version of Spider-Man does indeed have radioactive blood.

Image 1
Amazing Spider-Man Vol 1 #32

Image 2
Iron Man Vol 1 #234

Image 3
Blade Vol 4 #1


Theme songs have the job of delivering a great deal of info in about a minute, and as such have to pack in a lot, and if at all possible, make the song rhyme.

So "radioactive blood" is extreme shorthand for introducing the idea that radiation was obliquely connected to his origin and powers. And it rhymes with "bud". Otherwise you'd have been stuck with lines like...

From society he's an outsider

He's got the proportional strength of a spider!

For the record, he doesn't swing from "thread" either. And The Hulk has much more strength than "the power of a bull".

  • 4
    So... Is Spider-Man's blood really radioactive or not? – TheLethalCarrot Jun 13 '18 at 13:16
  • Well, John Byrne didn't think so... byrnerobotics.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=41659 – VBartilucci Jun 13 '18 at 13:20
  • 1
    @VBartilucci That quote from John Byrne seems to address the question pretty well. It explains that radiation altered it, but it's not emitting radiation so you couldn't, for instance, use a geiger counter to help find him. Could you perhaps incorporate that into the answer? – Thunderforge Jun 13 '18 at 14:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.